Sharan Burrow was elected as the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in 2010. The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 153 countries and territories and has 308 national affiliates. Prior to this, Ms. Burrow held the honorary position of ITUC President since its founding in 2006. Sharan was previously Vice-President of Education International from 1995 to 2000, the international organisation of education unions representing 24 million members.
Ms. Burrow began her working life as a high school teacher in Australia. She became a union organiser and served on state and national union executives during the 1980s and 1990s. Sharan continued her leadership role in the union movement when she was elected as President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) from 2000-2010. She played a critical role in resolving industrial disputes and led union negotiations on major economic reforms and in labour rights campaigns. She was a key advocate for a national paid parental leave system.
Ms. Burrow is well known for her international advocacy on labour standards, corporate responsibility, climate change, investment in infrastructure and the green economy, global migration and employment. She has represented workers and civil society groups in global policy discussions in United Nations bodies, including ECOSOC , on the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation as well as at the G20, World Bank and International Monetary Fund. She has served as a member of the Stakeholder Council of the Global Reporting Initiative and the UN Global Commission on International Migration.
Ms. Burrow has participated in the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the past 10 years. In 2011 she was a Faculty Member of the WEF as Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Employment and Social Protection.
Sharan Burrow maintains close working relations with civil society organisations across a range of areas in promoting social justice, human rights and development.